This Article explores the copyright and trademark laws underlying Disney’s characters in light of Mickey Mouse’s looming copyright expiration. The Article maps the history of copyright extension from the Copyright Act of 1909 (the governing law when Mickey Mouse came to be) to the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act” (the current governing law on copyright expiration), finding further extension of copyright protection to be unlikely and, ultimately, unappealing. This Article takes the position that further extension is unlikely given that the political climate for such reform has changed and that the policy tensions underlying extended protection weigh in favor of limiting copyright protection to current terms. The Article analogizes between continued copyright extension and recent patent reform, highlighting the danger of inhibiting creativity and innovation—the very things that Walt Disney built his legacy on.
Kaitlyn Hennessey, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY—MICKEY MOUSE’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ADVENTURE: WHAT DISNEY’S WAR ON COPYRIGHTS HAS TO DO WITH TRADEMARKS AND PATENTS, 42 W. New Eng. L. Rev. 25 (2020), https://digitalcommons.law.wne.edu/lawreview/vol42/iss1/2